Makar Sankranti is one of the few ancient Hindu festivals that has been observed according to solar cycles, while most festivals are set by the lunar cycle of the lunisolar Hindu calendar. The festival is very popular among Odias. devotees prepare makar chaula (uncooked newly harvested rice), banana, coconut, jaggery, sesame, rasagola, Khai/Liaa and chhena puddings for naivedya to gods and goddesses. This is the time when the winter ending starts resulting change of food intake and habits of people. From this day suns movement change, the daytime gradually increases and night time decreases.
Makar festival hosts mela(fair) in many parts of the state. Devotees in huge number visit sun temple Konark as the festival is connected the sun movement. In Mayurbhanj, Keonjhar, Kalahandi, Koraput and Sundargarh where the tribal population is greater, the festival is celebrated with great joy. They celebrate this festival with great enthusiasm, singing, dancing and generally having an enjoyable time. This Makara Sankranti celebration is next to the Odia traditional new year Maha Vishuva Sankranti which falls in mid April. Tribal groups celebrate with traditional dancing, eating their particular dishes sitting together, and by lighting bonfires.
The Tusu festival (also known as Tusu Parab or Tusu Parob or Tusu Puja ) is a tribal festival in tribal Odisha observed on Makar Sankranti by young girls of certain communities mostly Kudumi, Bastiti, Rajual etc. It is celebrated in districts of Mayurbhanj, Keonjhar. The key features of the celebrations are the Tusu songs which are folk music, the food and the fair. They worship the Tusu idol (a female deity) and presents the idol in the Tusu fair and a competition among them continues. It ends with the immersion of Tusu idols in the holy pond.
Where as in urban places, people celebrate it with flying kites. It is also celebrated in some popular temples in odisha like Dhabaleswar in Cuttack, Hatakeshwar at Atri in Khordha, Makara Muni temple in Balasore and near deities in each district of Odisha. In Puri special rituals are carried out at the temple of Lord Jagannath.
Cuisine: Makara Chaula
Time of Celebration: 15th January, 2020
Location: Mayurbhanj, Koraput
Travel Itineraries: Train/ bus/ car from Bhubaneswar